Militarum Tempestus Tactica: Tempestus Command Squads

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Requizen here with another Militarum Tempestus tactics and review article! Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

The Tempestor Primes of the Militarum Tempestus are the leaders and most accomplished Scions of the Schola Progenium. On the battlefield, they lead the troops and give orders to make them more efficient in their missions. On the tabletop, this is reflected by your Prime and his squad being slightly different and overall better than other units of Scions:

  • The unit is limited to only 5 models (including the Prime)
  • However, each Scion other than the prime can be equipped with a special weapon, bringing your special weapon count up to 4 per unit instead of 2.
  • The Prime enjoys a slightly better statline, like W2, LD9, and I4
  • He also has the ability to give Orders, much like any other Command unit from Astra Militarum

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Four special weapons in a unit is obviously a huge jump up from two. Two Meltaguns will probably hurt a vehicle, four will leave it a smoldering ruin. Plasma Guns go from “solid damage” to “potentially remove anything that’s not a deathstar”. And so on with other guns, the potential for dealing huge damage is obvious.

The Prime’s abilities are also a bonus. As stated in the Intro article, our Orders are pretty good, particularly Autonomous Fire Sactioned! and Suppression Doctrine Sactioned!. When Ordering your own unit, LD9 means you have a much better chance of passing – LD8 passes ~72% of the time, but LD9 passes 83% of the time, a marked improvement.

Combining these two together means that the Prime’s unit is often the best one to order – you can give AFS! to 4 special weapons instead of 2, they pass it easier, and they’re always in range!

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Loadouts

While these guys are your HQs, they don’t want to hang out in backlines, staying safe and supporting like a Guard CCS or Ethereal. They’re more comparable to Sternguard or other special weapon squadrons in their use, taking a bunch of special weapons and killing as much as possible. Obviously if the Prime happens to be your Warlord, you risk giving up StW really easily… but if a T3/W2/4+ model is your Warlord, it’s probably gonna die whether you want it to or not.

There are some nifty things you can give to your Command Squad dudes, but be aware that they can’t have these upgrades and also carry a fancy weapon:

  • The Platoon Standard makes the squad count as having dealt one more wound for purposes of wound allocation. If your 5 man Scion squad gets in combat with most things, it’s already toast. Why would you bring this instead of a gun?
  • On the other hand, Medi-pack is an alright option. T3 4+ models aren’t the best units in the world to have Feel No Pain, but it does statistically give them 3+ armor against everything that’s not AP4 and/or S6, so that’s not terrible. It’s nice for Gets Hot! since it means you’re slightly less likely to burn your arms off.
  • I talked a bit about the Vox Caster in the Intro article. If you’re giving one to your Scion squads, obviously you want your Command Squad to have it. On the other hand, it’s taking up a special weapon slot, which is a bit of a hard sell. Don’t try to force it into your list, but if you’re actually trying to take advantage of it, it’s not terrible.

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The obvious set up is to take as many of the same special weapon, much as the regular Scions do. These other options are nice tools, but in the end, guns are usually better than not guns, especially for Scions, who want to remove the target quickly.

While you can run a stock Command Squad with just the Prime and 4 dudes, it seems like a waste of those 4 weapon slots. It’s cheap, I suppose, and you can always have 4 Hot Shot Lasguns in range of SDS! for good AP3 wounding, but I don’t think that outweighs the strength of other options.

Four Plasma Guns is my favorite option. If you get within 12″ and get off AFS!, 8 Plasma Shots rerolling 1s is going to obliterate anything that doesn’t have heavy cover or a good Invuln. This is the one time I would consider throwing in a Medipack – 3 guns are still good, and even with Preferred Enemy (or if you fail the Order) you’ll never hate having FNP for those Gets Hot rolls. Plasma Guns have the best choice of targets – they can threaten armor up to AV13 and hurt basically anything on the table short of a T10 (which is literally only GUO with Iron Arm, if I’m not mistaken).

Meltaguns aren’t terrible, but I think are better to keep on the cheaper Scion squads. Four of them in one squad has a good chance of being overkill, and since they have a good chance of mishapping to death on the Deep Strike (since they want to aggressively DS for that 6″ Melta range), it’s better to keep them in a cheaper, less important unit. On the other hand, if you land outside of Melta range, 4 guns is much better than 2 for cooking a vehicle. Keep this option in mind, depending on how many vehicles you see in your games.

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Volley Guns are a solid option, as they are elsewhere in the book. A Command Squad full of these with Orders on (though not SDS!, since you don’t want to lose shots) will evaporate MEQ before you can say “The Emperor Protects”. There’s also the nice option of putting this sort of unit in a Bastion or Bunker – a hard to kill building that pumps out 16 S4 AP3 shots on anything that comes within 24″ will make a kill zone that your opponent will not lightly step in.

Flamers and Grenade Launchers are even worse in here than they are in Scion squads. Maybe you could get away with a 4 Flamer unit in a Taurox if you play against swarm Tyranids a lot or something like that, but overall you have better options.

Your Prime can also take all the same upgrades as the Tempestor in regular squads – Plasma Pistol and/or Power Weapons. The Plasma Pistol isn’t a bad option, especially if you’re running a 4 man Plasma Squad, but again, for keeping a trim list, these are often passed up in favor of other things.

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If this suave dude is leading your Scions, you don’t have to worry about anything like “morale”.

Utilization

Aside from the aforementioned “use Bastion as a killzone” tactic, you’ll want to get these guys in range and blowing things up as fast as possible. Much like their lower-ranked brethren, that means you’ll either want to Deep Strike or zip around in a Taurox. Deep Striking is probably the better option – Tauroxes are made of paper, and footslogging Command units aren’t that impressive. They either die like punks or stay out of range all game.

My preferred method of usage is four Plasma Guns in a squad Deep Striking, using AFS! on themselves, and removing an important unit from the table. Anything infantry is more or less removed, and even MCs take enough wounds to feel nervous. So long as you’re not shooting at an unkillable Deathstar or a Knight, you’ll probably do heavy, near crippling damage to part of their force.

Your Commanders like to lead from the front, so let them be there!

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14 Responses to “Militarum Tempestus Tactica: Tempestus Command Squads”

  1. Blightstar July 8, 2016 8:27 am
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    Can I ask you to do Hellrain Brigade next time? That formation has some serious hidden power in it. The way its worded, the Scion squad also brings back another set of Tauros Primes if they had one as dedicated transport! So you can suicide the squad all the long and every time it dies you come back next turn with new set of wheels under it. This is also a good place to stick Augur Array since it makes deepstriking so much safer and you can really focus the power where you need it.

    • Cephalobeard July 8, 2016 8:36 am
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      I second this.

      However, I disagree that Tauroxes come with them. Tauroxes aren’t upgrades, they’re transports.

      However I’d love to see Hellrain reviewed.

      My 1850 list is 2x Hellrain, 1x CAD

      4x 5x Plasma Squads and 6x 2x Melta Squads.

      Thanks for the reviews!

      • Requizen
        Requizen July 8, 2016 8:43 am
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        I was going to go through all the units before moving onto the formations, but if the desire is there for that specific review then I can push it up the calendar.

        I agree that Tauroxes DO NOT come back. They are not part of the unit, otherwise they would have to stay attached to the unit all game. If someone rules that it does come back… then LOL that’s purrty broked.

        • Lysere July 8, 2016 8:52 am
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          Even if it could come back it can’t deepstrike so it would get lost in limbo. (The returning Scions afterall are forced to arrive via deepstrike)

          • Sanchezsam2 July 8, 2016 2:28 pm
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            Well to be fair the rules for hellfire brigade grant it deepstrike by stating The scion unit is placed in deepstrike reserve and the scion unit enters play via deep-strike.

            It doesn’t state it must enter via deepstrike which would mean it needs deepstrike to enter.

            However a dedicated transport while it appears and is worded like an upgrade. I don’t believe it’s intended to be an upgrade but a seperate unit of dedicated transport that inherits the force organization type of the unit it’s purchased for. If it did respawn though it would be pretty brutal.

            However what I really like about this get started formation is that it allows a cheap and flexible way to include scions (with scion orders) into your army (AM player here) with a decent formstion rule that allows you to play your scions aggressively.

    • Threllen July 8, 2016 2:29 pm
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      Unless there’s some large chunk of Dedicated Transport rules I haven’t seen where they’re mixed in with the unit they’re taken with, must remain within coherency, must target the same enemy in the shooting phase, and must follow all the other rules for units/unit coherency – I’m going to go with they’re not a part of a Scion unit and cannot, therefore, come back.

  2. MidnightSun July 8, 2016 1:30 pm
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    A Librarian on Bike with Iron Arm and Might of Heroes can also be T10, and the Great Unclean One can also hit T10 from I want to say Fleshy Abundance from the Daemons Nurgle lore, the +1/+2/+3 T buff.

    Because both of those things are incredibly common in the meta, right?

    • Requizen
      Requizen July 8, 2016 9:27 pm
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      Haha true! More likely to run into the dreaded 2++ rerollable.

  3. hillshire July 9, 2016 5:57 pm
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    I love the MT models, even the Taurox (looks much better on the table than in photos). Bought a couple boxes and a couple of Tauroxes (Tauroxi? Tauroxs?) but haven’t fielded them yet. If they had an order for Ignores Cover like Guard, I’d be more tempted running them as a support force for Inquisition or Sisters of Battle. Someday. The Hellrain Brigade does sound kind of interesting. I might paint those up as ghosts and have them be like an Imperial Guard/MT version of Legion of the Damned. Instead of being tougher to kill, they’d keep coming back each time they died.

    • hillshire July 9, 2016 6:07 pm
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      Here’s a question: which orders can this formation use? The ones from MT or AM? I had assumed it would be MT but the Formation doesn’t specify. Thoughts?

      • hillshire July 9, 2016 6:45 pm
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        I wish there was an edit button for posts.

        Anyways, pretty sure it’s MT orders since it does say Militarum Tempestus Scions in the special rules. Oh well, no Ignores Cover.

        • westrider July 9, 2016 9:49 pm
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          Yeah, their Faction is MT, so they use those Orders.

    • ExFideFortis July 9, 2016 7:57 pm
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      You could always run your Scions as an elite choice for AM (if you have any AM) where they can receive Ignores Cover from a Command Squad. The Command Squad can ride in a Taurox/Chimera with an augur array or jump out of a Vendetta/Valk in order to keep pace with your deep striking scions as well as getting 2 orders instead of 1 per turn. Ignore Cover is so key (and FRFSRF isn’t bad with a bunch of hotshot lasguns either, not to mention shoot+run after deepstriking) that I’m starting to think Scions are better off being run as an elite choice for guard than they are on their own. Twin Link and PE are nice and all but there are other ways to get them.

  4. Jeff October 26, 2016 6:27 pm
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    I run Elysians as they blow MT out of the water with their deep-strike valks and ground scanners, but I’ve lately been running Elysians AND the MT Ground Assault Formation…they work really well together, with Valks and vultures strafing and Taurox primes rolling about capturing points or hosing down foes with Gatling…thinking of adding the Emperor’s Spear arty to the mix…